Inquest Hears Hammersmith Events Manager Froze to Death in Greenland

Philip Goodeve-Docker was caught in storm while on charity trek

Related links

Philip's JustGiving Page

Philip's Facebook page

Purple Cactus

Online booking for the Benefit Concert at the Comedy Store

Chortle tribute to Philip

The Queen's Nursing Institute's Tribute to Philip


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An inquest into the death of Hammersmith events manager Philip Goodeve-Docker has been told that he was found frozen in a seated position, covered in a layer of ice after being caught in a storm in Greenland.

The 30 year-old who lived in Ealing and ran the Purple Cactus Booking agency in Hammersmith Grove was on a charity trek in Greenland with two other explorers.

They were only on the second day of a 400 mile expedition on Friday April 26 this year when they were hit by a storm called a 'Piteraq'. In the early hours of Saturday April 27 winds on a glacier blew away the tent Mr. Goodeve-Docker was sharing with Roan Hackney, aged 31, and Andrew Norman, aged 33.

philip goodeve docker

Mr. Hackney told the inquest that they were aware the storm was coming and set up camp believing they had the right equipment to deal with the conditions. However, the storm quickly escalated and soon drifting snow and ice was crushing them inside their tent. The temperature fell to minus 70C and winds got up as high as 160mph. Soon after 5.30am all the tent poles had snapped. Visibility outside at this point was 2cm and they decided to call for emergency assistance.

They called for help using a satellite phone but were told that conditions were too severe for the helicopter to take off. Mr. Goodeve-Docker spoke to his parents on the phone and they tried to persuade the authorities to bring the rescue forward.

The three men huddled together for warmth and tried singing and calling out each other’s name. On the morning of April 28 the men had lost consciousness but Mr Hackney had thrust his red gloved hand above the snow to mark where they were for any rescuers.

At around noon the helicopter arrived but Mr. Goodeve-Docker was already dead. His colleagues were suffering from severe hypothermia, shock and frostbite.

The Coroner, Andrew Bradley, told the hearing that he knew the Goodeve-Docker family personally and that the case was one of great sadness to him. In his summing up he said, “Never was a verdict of misadventure so appropriate.”

Mr Goodeve-Docker took on the challenge in memory of his late grandfather, Patrick Pirie-Gordon, who was an honorary vice-president of the Royal Geographical Society, helping to fund polar explorations. He was also raising funds for The Queen's Nursing Institute.

After his death many friends and colleagues in the world of comedy paid tribute to Mr Goodeve-Docker and made donations to his JustGiving page in his memory. Donations are still being made, with the total standing at over £18,000.

After his death, Philip's family issued a statement on Facebook saying: "To our son, brother and friend, we are so glad that you were on your adventure and expedition that you had wanted to do for so long. You will be unbelievably missed and your memory cherished. xx "



August 21, 2013

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